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“Amazing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aore Island Resort

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Aore Island Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Aore Road | Aore Island, Aore Island, Vanuatu   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Aore Island
Baltimore, Maryland
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2010

This is an experience unlike any others you'll have. My husband and I traveled here Nov/Dec 2009 and had a wonderful vacation and came away having made new friends with Ann and Gary and all the staff, who went so far out of their way to make sure we had a memorable trip.
Being scuba divers - and personally interested in WWII - our main goal was to dive the USS Coolidge and other WWII wreck sites. Long story short - if you're a diver - this is a must do! And the perfect spot to stay was Aore Resort (very close to dive sites), and we were also pleased we used the dive shop associated with the resort - again, we became friends with the dive guides and boat captains, and my husband and I had a dive guide all to ourselves for every dive - something you rarely get! I know Allan Powers is the big dive shop on the island, however, we noticed they had lots of people diving the wrecks. This is such a different type of dive that it is highly recommended you have individual attention.
When we weren't diving, we had a whole island (and coconut plantation behind the resort) to explore on our own. One day we hiked around (and found WWII bunkers) and another time we used the bikes provided by Aore , free of charge, and got to explore a little more, even meeting a few cows lazing in the forest along the way. We also snorkeled on our own off the dock at Aore, hung out in the pool, and otherwise had a chance to spend some time together, relax, and soak up life in Vanuatu.
Ann and Gary have found a way to strike that balance by providing amenities that people want (hot showers, drinkable water, fresh, homemade food that varied everyday) while on vacation yet making sure it still had that feel that you were truely a million miles from home.
Worth noting - you do not need to take malaria meds if you're just going to Santo.
For those concerned with the extensive travel to get here (we live outside of Baltimore, MD), it's well worth it. My husband (who doesn't have much patience for long plane rides, layovers in airports, etc) told our dive group that he'll be back to dive the Coolidge.
To break up our travel home, we took an extra few days in Auckland, New Zealand, which was a good idea.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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113 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2010

I have been somewhat horrified to read some of the poor reviews on Aore Resort and can only think that maybe some people are not suited to offshore resorts. Maybe their expectations are just too high!

Our first trip was recommended by a friend and we have now returned there many times . We have travelled to many offshore island resorts in the South Pacific over the last 20 years and feel that for the price Aore does it right. The staff are superb, the owners friendly and helpful and always willing to have a chat. The chefs are top notch and the food is magnificent.

We are presently booking another trip in June and eagerly looking forward to it. We considered many other islands and resorts for this next trip but felt that Aore was about the best value for money that we could find.

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2010

We had a fantastic family holiday at Aore.

The owners, especially Jodie were very friendly, helpful and accommodating. The staff were fabulous, they created a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere.

We loved our beachfront bungalow though not 5 star (you're not paying 5 star prices either) was very clean with fly screens on all the windows and a abundance of clean fresh towels. The grounds were immaculately kept and the pool clean.

The breakfast was basic but you could order a full cooked breakfast, which my son did every morning. I liked that you could order from a basic menu for lunch and dinner or you could choose from a blackboard which changed at every meal.The food was always to a high standard and very fresh. I had the lobster thermador it came out, it was a full huge lobster and i ate every last morsel. The next night I had lobster with lemon butter, I thought I was going to be disappointed, it wasn't going to measure up to the delicious feast I had the night before. I was wrong, it was even more tasty. I could highly recommend the creme caramels as well.

The full day snorkelling tour around Aore Island was a great day. The coral and fish very beautiful. We enjoyed the bike riding aswell.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2010

It's been two and a half years since we stayed at Aore, but ths is better late than never. I see from other reviews nothing has changed from our stay.

So let's start from the start.

My new husband and I stayed at Aore in a Beachfront bungalow for 7 nights for our honeymoon. At the time, there was a special deal - stay 6 days, get an extra night free. You'll be interested to know that after our sixth night, we were put into a garden bungalow that was infested by mosquitos. I got bitten 20 odd times!

After landing in Santo, we were picked up in a dodgy bus and transferred in a rickety boat to the island that Aore is situated on. A group of us that arrived at the same time where given fruit cocktails as we sat around a circle with the owner who then gave us our keys. We had bungalow 7.

Accommodation: Even though Aore isn't cheap, don't expect anything other than very basic accomodation. No tv, no radio, basic light fittings, basic bed, basic everything.

Island: The location of the island is great, it's away from the Santo crowd. But I have to say that we were a little dissapointed. Don't expect to be able to walk hand in hand along the beach. There is no real beach to talk about. The trees grow to the water in sections and its hard to find a patch of sand! Also, if you walk to far, you tread on other peoples land!!

Food: During the early part of our stay, we woke up late. Consequently, when we got to breakfast (which was included in our stay), there was only toast and cereal left. One day didn't even have orange juice. When we woke up earlier, we discovered that there was a little more to the continental breakfast - chocolate croissants and croissants. Yay!

We had lunch a few times at Aore, which was very basic. Expensive and not worth it. Instead, I recommend going into Santo where you can buy cheap cafe style food that is MUCH better quality. Oh, there's pizza on the menu. It was really heavy and had a cheddar cheese instead of a mozarella type cheese. Very oily.

Dinner was also expensive and basic (apart from the crab). For some reason, everything tasted like seawater which made me feel sick. Someone there told us that they washed things in seawater to give taste. Makes me gag just thinking about the taste again!

The owners: Dodgy and they really ruined the place. I hated their attitude towards guests. My new husband and I are not divers but they kept pushing and pushing for us to take dives. Turns out because they get a great commission. If someone says they're not interested, leave them alone, don't do the hard sell. Also at the end of our stay, when we paid our bill, they wouldnt take EFTPOS, only credit card. Fine, we thought it was because it was an old style swipe machine. Nope, its a proper CC/Eftpos machine. So turns out that they force you to use CC so that they could charge 5% extra (when for a visa the bank only charges them somewhere in the vicinity of 1-2%)

Massage: Don't bother. It's done by the cleaner.

Staff (apart from owners): Lovely, the local staff are lovely, polite and very helpful. And you know that they are paid peanuts, but they put up with the owners (who don't treat them very well - we overheard them one day having a go at them for nothing!)

Honeymoon: They were aware that it was our honeymoon. Did we get champagne? No. Did we get a fruit basket? No . Did we get petals on the bed? No. Did we get a congratulations? No. Nothing. Don't expect anything if you are a honeymooner. You get special treatment everywhere except at this hotel.

Further, at the time we stayed, there were lots of kids and families so it was really noisy. Oh, and the pool is dirty.

Santo: Trips to Santo and back are arranged every hour and back during 9-5 from memory. Santo is a really poor town but there is a market and cafes. As I said, I preferred to eat at the cafes instead.

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2010

I stayed at Aore Resort with some friends in three bungalows.

The welcome from the boat was warm and organised. Anne and Jodie do have a very smooth operation and are available to address any issues and provide education and support when required.

The boat service to Luganville was on time and useful. We paid for an extra trip once when it suited us and it was reasonably priced. I don't think it reasonable to expect alterations to the service without prior arrangement, so the day we went to Champagne Beach we arranged for a specific service at the time we required it, and were not disappointed.

We brought our tropical strength insect repellant and used it as anyone travelling to areas where mosquito borne diseases are present should year round. There were coils out in the evening in the main Nakamal, and the rooms are screened.

The food was consistently very good (French influenced, local ingredients etc) and the fresh - caught that morning, whole lobster spectacular! (I had it 4 times in 6 days!).

The staff, my goodness, the staff were excellent! They could not do enough for us and were very friendly and good at their jobs. Special mention goes to Annie, Michel, Ali, Rocky, Manson and the cleaners and ground staff who were fastidious (they raked the beach!). The boat captain George was very skilled too as was my masseuse!

The string band came one night and gave the evening mood an authentic Vanuatu feel, not tacky at all like some theme nights that hotels have. Everyone joined in at the end and the band performed an encore at the enthusiastic request of everyone, including the staff. People were beaming!!

Snorkelling straight from your bungalow is great with a good variety of fish and coral.

I was happy to read and relax and felt like I could really unwind in 6 days.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2010

We booked 4 nights at Aore Island resort and four at Oyster Island resort (see separate review). This was a family holiday with two teenage boys, and we choose Aore so that one of them could easily get to dives whilst the rest of us chilled out.
I won’t go over the ground covered by other reviewers on Aore Island. The big important things are great:
- Great location with easy access to Lurganville, but with a feeling of natural tropical isolation on the other side of the channel. Snorkeling is good and really easily accessible straight from the beach and jetty.
- Good snorkeling in very safe waters, and nice pool.
- Good standard of accommodation. Comfortable, and very well presented using natural local style and materials.
- Very friendly and helpful staff. Not in the forced way that you often find. Genuinely friendly. Anne and Jodie manage a tight operation, and are always happy to help and answer our many questions.
- Reasonable and mostly interesting food which I would have been more than happy with, but at the prices charged, I was expecting something more. However, it was never bad, and always fresh.

So I want to be clear that I was mostly very happy with our stay. Having stayed a few similar places however, there are a few small touches that would have made a big difference that weren’t quite right. I hope that if Anne or Jodie read this, these are taken as constructive suggestions to make some small improvements.
- There was clearly a mosquito problem for the first couple of days we were there. Strangely there seemed to be much less of a problem the second two days. I suspect they may blow in on the wind. The resort is backed by coconut plantation and rain forest and the problem was particularly bad in there. At the resort itself we were not well prepared and were eaten alive the first day. We asked on arrival and were told that there were just a few mozzies at dusk, but there were actually lots all day and all over the resort. The resort could have dealt with this better. On our second night, we asked if we could have mozzie coils and they gave us enough for that night only! No offer of enough for the other nights. We also noted from the printed information that we could request mosquito nets, which we did. Unfortunately we were covered in bites by then. It seems to be the norm in places with far less of a mozzie problem that coils and nets are standard in the rooms. I can only think that there is state of denial that there is a problem, or it is only an occasional thing as I haven’t seen other reviewers comment on it. I recommend that travelers come equipped with some tropical strength spray and your own coils.
- There was very little information on the local area provided. It would have been good to have a local map, and some self-guided walk, as well as some history on the island – which is actually very interesting. There is a guided walk for 500vt PP which I would recommend. It goes past WW2 huts that are now occupied by hundreds of small bats that will fly out as you pass.
- They have a few bikes that are in very poor condition that can be used, but again, not much use without a map.
- Unlike anywhere else I stayed, snorkeling equipment has to be hired at a daily rate. This is not made clear when you pick it up, but it is on the bill when you leave.
- There are no games provided. We didn’t think to bring our own, but it would have been great to borrow the usually ubiquitous scrabble or pack of cards.
- There is a strange policy of billing some things in Aussie dollars like the room rate and the meal package, and the rest in Vatu, including all individual foods and beverages. I was completely confused!
- 5% surcharge for paying by any credit card. I asked if I could pay by internet transfer and they kindly said I could, but this is not advertised. Like the mozzie coils you have to ask. You may want to consider pre-paying to avoid this.
The good news is that these are all relatively small things and easily fixed or worked around. None of them would stop me from recommending Aore, but they do make the difference between good and great.
One last note… One of our sons got stung in the water by a Stinging Hydroid that looks like a seaweed but stings on like a jelly fish. This is quite a nasty sting which caused an allergic reaction. It was attached to a buoy line. – DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING IN THE WATER AND WEAR A TEE SHIRT OR RASH VEST WHEN SWIMMING anywhere on the reef. The staff were extremely helpful in dealing with this.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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darwin, australia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2009

We had a great stay, the bungalow was beautiful and the staff were very friendly. However the management knowingly left us on the mainland for over an hour after an exhausting day trip. Other guests were arriving, and instead of ferrying us across which would have taken 10 mins we were told we had to wait. This, and the owner not acknowledging or apologising for this mistake and instead justifying why he would do it again, really did ruin our stay at aore resort.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Aore Island Resort

Address: Aore Road | Aore Island, Aore Island, Vanuatu
Location: Vanuatu > Aore Island
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Aore Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Aore Island Resort 3.5*
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Also Known As:
Aore Island Hotel Espiritu Santo
Aore Resort Santo
Aore Hotel Santo

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